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Timeline of Israel's History

Israel's History

Why it’s so important to understand a brief overview of the historical periods of Israel.


The Holy Land is an old place, about the oldest in the world! While in the Holy Land, you’ll be seeing things as old as 6,000 years. That’s old! Different periods of history will be referred to when describing Israel’s holy sites and places. Please realize that there will likely be several key events at a particular site that have taken place there. Each event will have happened during a specific period in Israel’s history. If you can understand the different periods a little, you’ll get much more out of your experience. 


Chronology of Time Used by Archaeologists and Historians


  • Early Bronze Age   4000–2000 BC

  • Middle Bronze Age   2000–1500 BC

  • Late Bronze Age   1500–1200 BC

  • Iron 1 Age   1200–1000 BC

  • Iron 2 Age   1000–586 BC


Canaanite Period   4000–1875 BC


  • 4000 BC – Canaanites inhabit the land of Israel.

  • 2500 BC – Noah and the Great Flood.

  • 2100 BC – Tower of Babel

  • 2095 BC – Abraham moves to the land of Canaan from Ur of the Chaldeans.

  • 1880 BC – Jacob and his family move to Egypt to live with Joseph.


Israelite Period   1450–965 BC


  • 1450 BC – Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

  • 1406 BC – Nation of Israel enters the Promised Land.

  • 1012 BC – King Saul unifies the 12 Hebrew tribes into the United Kingdom of Israel.

  • 1004–965 BC – King David's reign.

First Temple Period   965–586 BC


  • 965–925 BC – King Solomon’s reign; glory years of the Kingdom of Israel.

  • 950 BC – Solomon builds the magnificent temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem (same place Abraham intended to sacrifice Isaac).

  • 926 BC – Kingdom of Israel divides because of Solomon’s sins. Jeroboam reigns over the northern Kingdom of Israel from Samaria. Rehoboam reigns over the southern Kingdom of Israel from Jerusalem.

  • 722 BC – Assyrians conquer and deport most of the northern Kingdom of Israel to Assyria.

  • 586 BC – Babylonians conquer Jerusalem and Judah under Nebuchadnezzar and deport most of the southern Kingdom of Judah to Babylon.

Second Temple Period   538–444 BC


  • 538 BC – Many Jews return from Babylon; Second Temple began to be rebuilt under the leadership of Zerubbabel.

  • 515 BC – Completion and Dedication of the Temple

  • 458 BC – Ezra returns to Jerusalem with a second wave of Jews and teaches all Israelites about the Bible.

  • 444 BC – Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls.


Hellenistic Period (Greek Rule)   333–167 BC


  • 333 BC – Alexander the Great defeats the Persian Empire and sets out to conquer the world. After his sudden death in 323 BC, the Greek Empire is divided. During this period, the Bible is translated into Greek (the Septuagint).

Hasmonean Period (Maccabean Rule)   167–63 BC


  • 167 BC – When the Jews were prohibited from practicing Judaism, and their temple was desecrated as part of an effort to impose Greek-oriented culture and customs on the entire population, the Jews revolted. First led by Mattathias of the priestly Hasmonean family and then by his son Judah the Maccabee, the Jews subsequently entered Jerusalem and purified the temple. This purification of the temple is remembered by the Jewish Holiday, Hanukkah (164 BC). 


Roman Period (Roman Rule)   63 BC–313 AD


  • 63 BC – Jerusalem is captured by Roman general Pompey.

  • 37 BC–4 BC – Herod, Roman vassal king, rules the Land of Israel.  He enlarges the Temple Mount and rebuilds the temple. He also builds other monumental projects, including Caesarea, Herodian, Cave of the Patriarchs, and Masada.

  • 4 BC – Jesus is born in Bethlehem.

  • 27–30 AD – Ministry of Jesus.

  • 30 AD – Jesus crucified.

  • 66 AD – Jewish revolt against the Romans.

  • 70 AD – Destruction of Jerusalem and Second Temple.

  • 74 AD – Fall of Masada.

  • 132 AD – Bar Kokhba Revolt. Roman Emperor Hadrian destroys Jerusalem and builds Aelia Capitolina, a pagan city in its place. Many holy sites are preserved, but with pagan shrines on them.

Byzantine Period (Eastern Roman Empire Rule)   313–614 AD


  • 313 – Emperor Constantine recognizes Christianity, later becoming a Christian himself.

  • 326 – Constantine’s mother, Helena, goes to the Holy Land and builds many churches and basilicas on holy sites. 


Persian Period   614–628 AD


  • 614 – Persian conquest of the Holy Land. Many churches and monasteries destroyed.

  • 628 – Holy Land recaptured by the Byzantines.

Muslim/Arab Period   638–1099 AD


  • 638 – Muslim/Arab conquest of the Holy Land completed. Rule is by Caliphs from Damascus, then from Baghdad, and then Egypt.

  • 691 – Where the First and Second Temples were located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock was built by Caliph Abd el-Malik.


Crusader Period   1099–1291 AD


  • 1099 – Crusaders (Catholic armies from Rome) conquer Jerusalem and many parts of Israel.

  • 1147 – Second Crusade arrives in the Holy Land.

  • 1187 – Destruction of the Crusader army by Muslim leader Saladin. Collapse of Crusader Kingdom begins.

  • 1265 – Mamelukes, led by Sultan Beybars, conquer the Holy Land.

  • 1270 – Final Crusade arrives, and all its participants are massacred.

  • 1291 – Last Crusader stronghold of Acco taken, ending Crusader rule.


Mamluk (Muslim) Period   1291–1517 AD


  • 1291 – Mamluk rule begins.

  • 1333 – Franciscan Order established in Jerusalem. Its members care for holy places and pilgrims.

  • By the end of the Middle Ages, the country’s urban centers were virtually in ruins, most of Jerusalem was abandoned, and the small Jewish community was poverty-stricken. The period of Mamluk decline was darkened by political and economic upheavals, plagues, locust invasions, and devastating earthquakes.

Ottoman (Muslim) Period   1517–1917 AD


  • 1517 – Following the Ottoman conquest in 1517, the land was divided into four districts and attached administratively to the province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul.

  • 1520 – Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilds the city walls of Jerusalem.

  • 1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte invades Israel but fails to capture it and is forced to leave.

  • 1860 – The first neighborhood, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, is built outside of Jerusalem’s city walls.

  • 1882 – First large-scale immigration to Israel, mainly from Russia.

  • 1904 – Second large-scale immigration from Russia and Poland.


British Period   1917–1948 AD


  • 1917 – British Foreign Minister Lord Balfour issued on November 2, 1917, the so-called Balfour Declaration, which gave official support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the commitment not to be prejudiced against the rights of the non-Jewish communities.

  • 1947 – The United Nations approved the partition of Israel into separate Jewish and Arab states on November 29, 1947.


State of Israel Period   1948 to Present


  • 1948 – On the day when the British Mandate in Palestine expired, the State of Israel was instituted on May 14, 1948, by the Jewish National Council under the presidency of David Ben Gurion.

  • 1948–1949 – The Arab-Israeli War; the Arabs refused to accept the newly established State of Israel. Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq attack Israel, but within a year, Israel defeated its attackers.

  • 1950 – Western Jerusalem was proclaimed the capital city of Israel on January 23, 1950.

  • 1956 – The Suez Crisis: Israelis invade Egyptian territory in October of 1956.

  • 1956 – After Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the company that administered the Suez Canal, a joint attack by the French and British was launched. Egypt suffered military disaster in November 2, 1956. Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula, but after international condemnation, Israel was forced to withdraw.

  • 1967 – Six-Day War: after Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran on May 22, 1967, Israel launched an attack on Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi airports on June 5, 1967. After six days, Israel conquered Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Sinai, and the West Bank.

  • 1973 – Yom Kippur War: on October 6, 1973, on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Syria and Egypt launched a surprise attack against Israel. After initial success of the attackers, Israel managed to cross the Suez into Egypt and endangered Cairo. After the intervention of the USA and USSR, military operations ended on October 25, 1973.

  • 1978 – The Camp David Accord was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menahen Begin, and Egyptian President Anvar as Sadat in September 1978, in Camp David, USA. Israel agreed to withdraw from the occupied Sinai Peninsula.

  • 1979 – The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty was signed on March 26, 1979, in Washington.

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Jerusalem Holy Sites Overview


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Chapel of the Ascension: Ascension & Return of Christ

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of Mary Magdalene

City of David Overview

Death, Burial, Resurrection of Christ


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Eastern Gate


Garden of Gethsemane: Church of All Nations


Gordon's Garden Tomb


Gethsemane to Golgotha:

Christ's Path to the Cross

Hezekiah's Broad Wall

Hezekiah's Water Tunnel


Hinnom Valley Overview


House of Caiaphas: Peter's Denial of Christ


Kidron Valley: Judgment of God


Mary's Tomb & Gethsemane Cave


Mount of Olives Overview


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Pilate's Palace: Trial of Jesus

Pools of Bethesda & St. Anne 



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Prophecy, Proof the Bible Is True: Mount of Olives


Solomon's Temple

Southern Stairs/Davidson Archaeological Site

Temple Mount Overview

Temple Location

Temple Mount: Pentecost


Temple Cleansing by Jesus


Temple & the Early Church

Tomb of King David

Tombs of the Prophets

The Old Testament Feasts & Jesus


The Upper Room

Triumphal Entry

Via Dolorosa


History Of Jerusalem's Walls and Gates


Western Wall & Tunnels Tour

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Sea of Galilee Overview




Calling of the Disciples


Capernaum: Jesus' Ministry Base




Feeding the 5,000

Gennesaret, Ginosar: Jesus Boat


Jesus Walks on Water, Calms the Sea


Kursi: Demonic Man Healed


Magdala: Mary Magdalene


Mount Arbel: The Great Commission

Mount of Beatitudes


Sower's Cove: Parables of the Kingdom


Tabgha: Restoration of Peter

Yardenit Baptismal Site

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Northern Israel Sites


Beth Shean

Beth Shean Amphitheater


Caesarea Maritima Overview

Caesarea Maritima: Holy Spirit Given to the Gentiles


Caesarea Philippi


Cana: First Miracle of Jesus

Church of the Annunciation & St. Joseph Church

Dan (City of Dan)

Gideon's Spring


Jezreel Overview

Jordan River Overview

Megiddo: Armageddon


Mount Carmel & Elijah

Mount Tabor: Transfiguration of Christ


Nazareth Overview


Nazareth: Mt. Precipice

Sepphoris (Tsipori, Zippori)


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Central Israel Sites






Ein Karem (Kerem)


Emmaus Road 


Gezer: On Crossroads of the World

Gibeon - Nabi Samwil



Inn of the Good Samaritan


Jericho ~ Tell Es-Sultan


Joppa (Jaffa, Yafo) Overview

Jordan River: Crossing into the Promised Land

Jordan River Baptismal Site of Jesus (Qsar al-Yahud)

Judean Wilderness

Judean Wilderness: Testing of Jesus

Mount Nebo & Moses

Philistine Cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Ekron, Gath

Qumran: Dead Sea Scrolls


Samaria (Sabastia)



Shechem: Jacob's Well


Shiloh: Center of Worship

St. George's Monastery (Wadi Qelt)

Timnah: Life of Samson

Valley of Elah: David & Goliath

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Bethlehem Overview

Bethlehem: Church of Nativity


Bethlehem: David & the Psalms

Bethlehem: Naomi, Ruth, Boaz


Bethlehem: Shepherds' Field

Dead Sea Area


En-Gedi: Living Waters


Exodus, Red Sea Crossing, Mt. Sinai




Tel Hebron Overview

Hebron Caves of Machpelah

Herodian (Herodium) Fortress

Oaks of Mamre, Hebron


Kadesh Barnea





Mount Sinai


Sodom & Gomorrah

The Philistines & Their City Strongholds


Timna Park: Tabernacle, Moses


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Garden of Eden Location

Madaba ( Map), Jordan

Mount Nebo & Moses


Noah's Ark & the Great Flood


Noah's Ark Location


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Who Has the Rights to the Holy Land? Jews or Arabs?

What Is the Reason for the War and Conflicts in Israel and the Middle East?

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